NEW YORK - The NYPD's new chief of patrol services is one of the highest-ranking uniformed Hispanic officers in the department and the first person of Dominican origin to hold that seat.
Chief of Patrol Fausto Pichardo was born in the Dominican Republic, in a village called Dicayagua de Arriba. He came to the United States when he was 9. His parents worked in factories. They lived in an apartment on the Lower East Side.
Growing up in that neighborhood, he knew he wanted to be a police officer.
"A very tough place because of the height of the crack wars and the epidemics of gun violence and drugs," Pichardo said.
When Pichardo was 17, he became a volunteer auxiliary police officer and patrolled the streets of the Lower East Side.
The Dominican native quickly rose through the ranks. He was promoted to sergeant in 2005, lieutenant in 2008, captain in 2011, deputy inspector in 2013, inspector in 2015, and assistant chief in 2018.
Then in December 2019, he became chief of patrol and now oversees 77 precincts and is responsible for more than 17,000 police officers.
"This is beyond anything that I think any kid from any country, certainly where I came from, from the Dominican Republic where I'm running around dirt roads with my brothers and sisters and taking baths in rivers like many kids in other parts of the world," Pichardo said. "The best part is that, yeah, it is beyond the American dream and to know I did it."